composting with food scraps

Discussion in 'Forum Info and Questions' started by alexizorbas, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    That is the exact same story as the others. I just won't suggest people buy from him but l will keep the links on my site. There are some good people on there happy to share information which is what it is all about.
    Many people over there use paper, cardboard and peat. I think paper and cardboard have little to no nutritional value so you have to supplement feed and peat is acidic so you need to add lime. I just use and prefer horse manure.
    Did you get the quantity you expected?
     
  2. alexizorbas

    alexizorbas Junior Member

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    ya the problem is that i dont have any clean horse manure. i can search around for some type of manure, but im concerned about what theyre feeding the horses. ive heard some horror stories of commercial compost containing glyphosate and other herbicides that completely destory gardens and any hope for growing anything for years. i guess its in the feed the give the animals, and then the animals pass it along onto the compost pile. i may be a bit too overcautious (and probably am), but for my first time, i went with coconut coir. i know you recommended manure as bedding, but as a rookie i wanted to start with something simple. i got 10 pounds for 10 bucks, and it seems like really awesome stuff. what are your thoughts on coir? i think its ph neutral, it holds moisture well, drains well and is dark. well see how it works...so far so good. as far as me getting the quantity expected... these are my first worms ever, so i have no gauge. they were all alive and scootin around though, and instantly burrowed once i put them on top of the coir. seemed like a pound to me though? i left the cover off, filled up 2/3 coir after soaking it (perfect moisture IMO) and then chopped a cup of watermelon and put it in one corner. i covered that with a bit of shredded newspaper so well see how it goes! im excited and hope it works:)
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Might be worth doing a pH test on it to check - they are cheap as chips to buy.
    Welcome to worm farming - you'll never be the same again!
     
  4. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    I am not sure about the pH on the coir. Just make sure you soak it and drain then soak again to remove any traces of salt. Salt will kill your worms really fast. Just overnight if your not careful.
    I have never heard of issues with manure and what the horses are fed. The old myth that worming products will kill your worms is just not true. I did the experiment and after 3 weeks I think it was of trying to kill some worms with straight worm paste I didn't lose a single worm
     
  5. Peter

    Peter Junior Member

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    Yep - Go for the composting. You will get a bigger return. Buy some EM4 composting microbes - They are very cheap and do a good job.
     
  6. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    Just put some worm castings in a cotton or calico bag and suspend it in a bucket of water. Place an air stone in the bucket connected to an aquarium pump. A tablespoon of molasses and about the same of seaweed kelp liquid. Let it bubble for 24 to 48 hours. Then water your plants with it. The brew will contain nutrients and millions of microbes. To keep the mix alive just add more molasses and seaweed kelp every 2 days. Very simple and cheap.
     
  7. Three Happy Aussies

    Three Happy Aussies Junior Member

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    As a relative nubbie to Permaculture our family could not do it without the amazing help of the people and resources on this forum. Thanks eco4560 for your awesome info on Page 1 of the using Veg scrape in compost thread. In our enthusiasm over the weekend we threw a bunch of whole veggie scraps into a bucket along with some dirt from the garden and some hay thinking that this may be a good way to feed our first worms (our soil must be awesome as it's full of worms wherever you dig) however after a few days the pong got to much and we ended up throwing it in an area of the garden we are about to develop. Armed with all your amazing information however and a nicely procured cast iron bathtub we will embark on attempt to...lol. Thanks for your help, Three Happy Aussies North of Newcastle NSW.
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
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    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    "what are your thoughts on coir?"

    Where has it come from? What has it cost the planet to get it to where you are? What is the effect on the ecosystem where it came from of it being removed? These are permaculture questions. It's not just about what we can buy, it's about how our choices affect the world we live in.

    You don't need to buy in ingredients imported from another part of the world. Lots of people have good working worm farms using kitchen scraps and newspaper/cardboard.

    Please also don't use peat. It's a non-renewable resource and using it damages other ecosystems, and it's not necessary.
     
  9. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    I am with Pebble on the Coir. Leave it in the shop that way the salt content in it wont kill your worms in your garden or worm farm. I lost around 300 African Night Crawlers because I used coco coir in the bedding I was posting them in. I knew about the salt and only rinsed it once being lazy I suppose. Never again will I use it unless it has been soaked and drained about 3 times.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    gardening, reading, etc
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    near St. Charles, MI, USoA
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    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    i've been keeping worms in buckets/bins for several years now and
    it has gone very well using them to break down veggie scraps.

    this system is very simple and needs very little added cost. i use
    buckets from a food store that has extra. i keep the worms in the
    buckets using very fine meshed fabric that will not let the worms out
    or flies in (dark curtain mesh) an old t-shirt is perfectly fine - air will
    get through it well enough. no added cost to run lights or to have a
    special rim and no worries about wandering worms. i keep the cover
    fabric on using elastic, large rubber bands or the rubber ring that
    comes inside the rim of the bucket lid.

    there are no holes in the bottom to drain extra liquid, this is on
    purpose, because i want to keep it simple and to retain all
    nutrients for the gardens.

    i use a mix of worm species so that the worms will be active in all
    layers of the bin as it gets filled up. each spring i empty the bucket
    but keep a scoup of worms from each layer in the bin so all are
    kept to keep the population going. i do not otherwise sort the worms
    from the castings as i like having the worms go back out into the
    gardens. i then put a few scoups of fresh garden dirt in the bin to
    get it recharged. from then on i only add veggie scraps or shredded
    paper, cardboard or cardstock until the next spring.

    some worm species that may be native (like the large night-crawlers
    around here) may not fare well in a bin. so when collecting try to
    avoid these or learn about which local species might be more suitable.
    i used some from the bait shop to start with, but i have switched to
    the native worms i find when digging in garden beds or those found
    under pieces of wood. it was a very simple and low cost set up. to
    get going faster you can buy worms, but going out and collecting them
    is much more fun and it teaches you about what worms live where in
    your soil.

    some veggie scraps benefit greatly from being dehydrated first before
    adding them to the bins. all root crops and stalks from broccoli or cabbage
    are the best when dehydrated (no need to freeze, just dry them in the
    sun for free for a few days and then they'll get broken down by the
    worms rather quickly). otherwise it may take several months to a year
    before a potato or beet root will get broken down in the soil when using
    different worm species. dehydrating them and then putting them in the
    bins (where they get rehydrated and then the worms go after them).

    worm treats are things like melon rinds or cooked veggies, banana peels,
    soft fruits, i also crush up egg shells and put them in the worm bins,
    shredded cardboard is very nutritious to a worm (glue is made from hooves,
    horns of cows). ground up bones would be good too in small amounts.
    worms do have gizzards, give them some gritty material.

    some worm keeping books advise against putting citrus in the bins,
    but i don't eat much of it here so it all gets dehydrated and then the
    worms get it. a few weeks later it's gone.

    because i am using a closed system with no drain it is important
    to keep it from getting too soggy as then the bottom layers will
    get rather smelly and you will hear gurgling noises coming from
    the buckets. most worms can tolerate this even when it is almost
    completely wet in there, but for your own sanity and to keep the
    bin from being too heavy i try to keep it moist enough to keep
    the worms happy, but not so wet that it sloshes. in an arid climate
    keep the surface of the bin (under the fabric cover).

    when i feed the worms i put food in the bins in several layers, this
    keeps as many worms going as possible in each bin. it stirs up the
    soil and worm castings so that i can see how wet it is and that tells
    me if i have to add a bit more water or not. if it gets too wet i just
    add more shredded paper down in and it soaks up the moisture and
    gives the worms more air and spaces to crawl within.

    so far i've been amazed at how many worms can get going in even a
    few buckets. i'm using 14 buckets and one larger bin (a reserve in
    case i need some extras for some project). as of yet i haven't sold any
    as it is tough to imagine selling my babies. besides with all the veggie
    scraps incorporated they are very expensively fed creatures when you
    consider how much veggies cost. luckily we grow some of ours (and
    i keep a green manure patch that i harvest for additional worm feed -
    i chop and dry it for winter storage. well worth it. alfalfa has a fair
    amount of protein. i also keep birdsfoot trefoil and other clovers for
    the worms.

    why 15 containers? a few times a month Ma cooks for many other
    families and so we need extra peak capacity. if it was just the two of
    us we could get by with 4 containers.

    worm heaven is the bins the day after Ma makes fruit salad for
    50. :) melon rinds are worm crack.

    whups, i went a bit long here. :)
     

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